Broken toilet while guest is here

I didn’t think this situation could happen, but it did.

I’ve had a guest for a few days now and she is (thankfully) checking out tomorrow morning. Tonight, the toilet in my bathroom started running nonstop, and also, I couldn’t flush the toilet. I googled how to fix…attempted it…and all the suggested fixes online didn’t work. I ended up shutting off the toilet water valve to avoid a huge amount of waste water from the running.

I did tell the guest what happened and apologized profusely. I only have 1 bath (and I am a live in host). Obviously this means that both of us using the toilet without being to flush will be rather gross, even with her leaving in the morning. I may actually bring a pot in my bedroom and do the chamber pot thing until she leaves, just to try to make it less unpleasant for her.

I’m going to call a plumber first thing but obviously I didn’t want to do a weekend, late night emergency call because that is big bucks. I have no other guests til Tuesday so this may have to wait until Monday depending on if there is a surcharge for Sunday work.

But all that being said, what kind of backup plan should I have if this happens again when I have a guest here? I was considering buying a camping toilet, even for just me, in case it happens again. I also am planning to install a second full bath in the basement in 2017 - have been for awhile - so that there is a backup bathroom.

Should I refund part of her stay for the inconvenience? I’m worried about getting dinged on my rating for this, even though she was the last one to use the toilet before this happened. Blah.

Ok … I’m in the same situation and what Ive been doing is lifting the top of cistern and flushing it from inside. Personally I think she should get a small discount from for the inconvenience … I’ve been flushing the toilet like that for a week. Mexico. Apparently.

If You can’t open the cistern just so you know a full bucket of water poured down the loo will also flush it. Lift the bucket a bit higher if you’re trying to flush a number two

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I was having to put my hands in here to pull the trigger internally … as you can imagine I got tired of that pretty quickly so I’ve now tied some string around the lever that releases the water.

Now I think on it a bucket of water is probably less stressful for your guest …

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If it was me, I’d offer a 50% discount. Not being able to use the bathroom is a big inconvenience. What did your guest say when you apologised?

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It sounds like the toilet may be clogged. Did you try to use a plunger? Keep the water off and plunge until the clog goes down. You’ll know when it does.
I think your guest clogged it.

Hi @southernbuckeye

I’m afraid costs for emergency call outs are part and parcel of being a host. You need to suck up the costs of calling someone out at a weekend in these type of situations.

You should have a list of emergency call out people on hand - locksmiths, plumbers, electricians etc so that if something goes wrong you will have people you know are reliable who you can call.

I don’t think it’s acceptable to ask a guest to use a toilet which can’t flush particularly in a shared space.

In your situation I would get someone out today, apologise again and offer her a large discount for the nights she has been without a toilet.

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It’s not a clog, trust me. When I flush the handle nothing even happens, as opposed to a clog where it acts like it’s flushing but doesn’t.

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I honestly can’t afford to pay emergency rates. Also, we have a big snowstorm today. I will probably refund her something and hope that she doesn’t knock stars off. Does anyone know how to refund through AirBNB for something like this or would I need to grab her contact info and pay it via paypal?

Honestly this is her fault, it worked fine til she used it last night.

My guest said it’s fine, no big deal, things happen. She’s supposed to check out this morning and this happened late last night so not really that long as far as total time without a working toilet.

Thank you, but the hardware inside my toilet doesn’t look like this. I googled the specifics for my hardware and followed other steps I found online. Nothing worked.

Update: I’ve called every single local plumber this morning and no one will come. They say a single toilet not working isn’t a weekend emergency. Only explosions, flooding and a few other things “count.”

Doubly aggravating is I’m getting answering services who page the plumbers not the plumbers or actual staff themselves so I can’t schedule it for tomorrow either. I can try calling tomorrow but I fear no one will have availability to come before my next guest Tuesday. If that’s the case I will have to cancel all bookings up through whenever they get here. I wonder if Air would let me cancel without penalty for that ?

Edit: I managed to get an appointment tomorrow afternoon from Roto Rooter.

1.) I’m curious. What toilet do you have?

2.) What do you reckon is wrong with it?

It’s a normal toilet but the hardware inside is called FluidMaster 400. I’ve already googled and watched YouTube videos for all possible fixes and attempted them. Still having the problem noted in my OP: nothing happens when I flush the handle and the toilet will not stop running.

No clue what’s wrong with it. I tried everything I could find online without a fix. So I need to get someone out but won’t be able to schedule until tomorrow morning since it’s the weekend and answering services don’t consider it an emergency.

I’ve sent the guest a 50% refund through the resolution center as well. She’s on her way out now and insisted I didn’t have to do that but I know it’s the right thing to do!


This happens to our toilet (in our home, not the rental) quite often. As @Zandra says, we just remove the lids and flush it manually.

This is a simple fix. Most likely the chain has either come off the arm or/and the flapper (the rubber stopper at the bottom of the tank. The entire assembly is cheap to buy at Home Depot or similar.

But first I’d look for that chain. However if it’s one that’s chainless, then you need to reposition the stopper at the bottom of the tank.

Yeah, I can’t seem to flush manually with the type of hardware it has. I’ll just wait for the plumber tomorrow. Thankfully I had blocked tonight and tomorrow from reservations to give myself time to do a deeper house clean after the one that left today, not even foreseeing that this would happen! :slight_smile:

I will just have to go use public restrooms today and tomorrow until they get it fixed. Honestly it could be a lot worse, thankfully I’m in an urban location with a lot of public restroom options! And my shower/sink still work, I didn’t have to turn off the entire water supply, just the toilet valve. The only thing that is a bummer is that it’s snowing a lot today so it’s annoying to go outside.

Nope not that. Everything inside the tank appears to be intact - chain included - and the flapper is in the right spot.

I really do appreciate all the advice here but I wish people on these boards would trust me when I say I have tried literally every possible fix with no result…best to call a professional at this point…I spent 2 hours in the bathroom last night trying different things.

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:slight_smile: because we’re trying to help. By the way before this, the water ran continuously and it was because the little plug that helps the water stay in the cistern was slightly displaced. Once I manually put it back the continuous running of water stopped.

In any case you can use the bucket trick in the meantime to flush and looking forward to finding out what the issue was.

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So the tank won’t fill up?

Just googled Fluidmaster. I know that apparatus well. There’s no armature or chain. The unit is inexpensive. Are you near a plumbing supply place? Home Depot, Lowes? If so, go buy one. They are simple to install. Since you’re out of commission until tomorrow anyway, you’ll have plenty of time to figure out the installation, which is not difficult. You’ll save yourself at least $100 if not more.